« FöregåendeFortsätt »
tients upon the propriety of such an undertaking, and that his Constituents shall be afforded an apportunity of judging, whether the man, who returns to them with the same name, returns also with the same principles. This I take to be the spirit of that law; and if, in appearing now before you to solicit your suffrages, you think that my principles are different from those which originally recommended me to your favor, you ought, of course, to reject
But if, on the other hand, you consider my principles and disposition unaltered since last I was the object of your choice, I presume to hope that you will, on this occasion, honor me with your usual support.
, “ This is 110t the time or the place to go at any length into a consideration of the state of the country--but that this state is highly perilous and calamitous, is unquestionably true. Under such circumstances, I have, in conjunction with many great and able men, ventured to undertake an important office, with a view to contribute our best exertions, to avert from our country the perils by which it is menaced ;--and we have done so, fully aware, that there is but too much reason to fear disappointment, and little hope of gaining credit or reputation. Whatever way, indeed, we turn our eyes, we can discover scarcely any thing that is calculated to gratify our wishes, or to encourage our hopes. At home we witness great suffering, privation, and distress; abroad, and in that department with which I am more immediately connected, I can see little from which to draw consolation for the past, or hope for the future. But still amidst this calamitous prospect we reflect with pleasure and with pride upon the valor, the unparalleled heroism of the British navy. This undoubtedly furnishes a splendid excep
. tion to the general gloom. The glorious victory of Trafalgar, though accompanied by the irreparable loss of a
justly renowned and universally regretted commander, afforded much to compensate, at least in point of character, for the disasters that have taken place in other directions: —that victory, therefore, was peculiarly opportune.
“ With regard to the motives which induced me, and those illustrious persons with whom I act, to accept of. fices, it cannot be supposed that we have been by any means influenced by personal considerations. We have undertaken the government from a solicitude to serve our country, and in the hopes of meeting the support of our countrymen, and without, I repeat, any prospect of credit or advantage to ourselves.
“ It is not my intention, Gentlemen, as I stated in my advertisement *, to make you any professions. At my time of life they would be unbecoming, and considering your acquaintance with me, I hope I may believe that they would be unnecessary. I shall only say, that, in whatever station I may be placed, whether in or out of office,
I I shall ever be found a friend to liberty, an enemy to corruption, and a determined supporter of that weight which the People ought to have in the scale of our Govern ment.”
It is almost unnecessary to add, that this speech was received with applause ; and that, all hands having been raised in favor of Mr. Fox, he was declared duly elected; upon which he thanked the meeting for this additional
* The following is a copy of the paragraph in Mr. Fox's advertisement, to which he here alludes. i “ It has for five and twenty years been the pride of my life to enjoy your uninterrupted confidence and partiality; and my feelings of gratitude have been continually increased by the constancy of your kindness. To make professions would be neither suitable to my time of lite, nor to the long connection that has subsisted belween us. The crisis is arduous; I feel all iis difficulties; and to serve you and my country shall be the business of
mark of their esteem, assuring them that the ample confidence they had reposed in him, he would never be found to betray,
Mr. Fox did not long survive this last proof of the un. diminished confidence of his constituents. He died on the thirteenth of September following ; and Earl PERCY offered himself as a candidate to supply the vacancy in the representation of Westminster occasioned by that melancholy event. It was generally supposed that Mr, SHERIDAN felt the like ambition, but was unwilling to oppose Earl Percy, who had the countenance of some of the leading members of administration. On Thursday, the 18th of September, a numerous body of the Electors assembled at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, in pursuance of a requisition, to consider of a proper person to succeed their late much lamented representative. Earl Percy and Mr. SHERIDAŇ were successively put in nor mination, when the latter, who was present, addressed the meeting to the following purport:
MR. SHERIDAN'S SPEECH
THE CROWN AND ANCHOR,
SEPTEMBER 18, 1806.
5 GENTLEMEN, “ Electors of Westminster, in addressing you upon this occasion, I am afraid, that, before I proceed to the few observations which I feel it my duty to submit to you, I Thall be obliged to commence with a request which I am almost ashamed to make for your indulgence, if in con, sequence of a short but sharp indisposition, from which I
am just recovering, my voice should not be strong enough to be clearly audible to the full extent of this large as, sembly.
« Upon that subject which must fill all your minds upon the merits of that illustrious man, whose death has occasioned the present meeting, I shall, I can say but little, There must be some interval between the heavy blow that has been struck, and the consideration of its effect, before any one, and how many are there of those who have revered and loved Mr. Fox as I have done, can speak of his death with the feeling, bụt manly composure whịch becomes the dignified regret it ought to inspire. To you, however, Gentlemen, it cannot be necessary to describe him--for you must have known him well. To say any thing to you at this moment, in the first hours of your unburdened sorrows, must be unnecessary, and almost insulting. His image is still present before you his virtue is in your hearts his loss is your despair !
“ I have seen in one of the Morning papers what are stated to have been the last words of this great mang? I die happy;' then, turning to the dearest object of his affection, I pity you ! But had another moment been allowed him, and had the modesty of his great mind permitted it, well might he have expressed his compassion, not for his private friends only, but for the world-well might he have said, “I pity you! I pity England ! I pity
! Europe! I pity the human race !---For to mankind at large his death must be a source of regret,
whose life was employed to promote their benefit. He died in the spirit of
peace, struggling to extend it to the world. Tranquil in his own mind, he cherished to the last, with a parental solicitude, the consoling hope to give tranquillity to 112tions. Let us trust that that stroke of death, which has borne him from us, may not have left peace, and the dig
nified charities of human nature, as it were, orphans upon the world.
“ From this afflicting consideration, I pass to one comparatively insignificant; yet it is the question we are met this day to consider, namely, the pretensions of those who have the presumption to aspire to succeed him.' An honorable friend has proposed me as a person worthy of that proud distinction. I cannot deny but that it is an object of ambition, unmixed, I think, with one unworthy motive, very near to my heart. I have received a friendly, though
I public caution, that I may risk the confidence and attachment of my friends at Stafford by such a pursuit. I thank my Monitor for his anxiety on that account; but he may rest assured that I know my constituents better. I have before declined an offer of support for this city upon a general election. My gratitude and devotion to my friends at Stafford bind me to seek no other. I have been six times chosen by them, which is a proof, at least, that, when once elected, I am not quarrelsome with my constituents.' To attend to their wishes must of course be an object of my peculiar solicitude, and to continue to represent them, the favorite pursuit of my ambition, even more, perhaps, than that of the representation of Westminster. But it is not inconsistent with that sentiment, nor can it be offensive to the feelings of my constituents, that I should have offered myself to your notice upon this occasion. For my constituents must feel, that it is one thing to be the representative of Westminster, and another to be the successor of Mr. Fox. That, I own,
I cannot but consider as an object of the highest importance, of which, if I were not ambitious, I must be insensible.
“ Upon the present awful occasion, with such feelings as I know are clinging to your minds, hoping at most to